Q & A: A good laugh at misfortune

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Q. Am I right in thinking that there was a one-armed German international footballer in the early Fifties? Or have I been reading too much of Roy of the Rovers?

A. There was a one-armed German international. His name was Robert Schlienz of VfB Stuttgart. He won three caps, against Ireland in 1955 and against the Netherlands and England in 1956. He lost his left arm in an accident at the start of the 1948-49 season. Originally a prolific striker, he became a playmaker following the loss of the limb, and continued to play for Stuttgart until the end of the 1958-59 season. - Alan Gray, Sleaford

A. Further down the ladder, Fulham had a one-armed winger in the Seventies called Ronnie Goodlass. His marauding runs down the touchline, shirt- sleeve flapping behind him, were legendary. Unfortunately, at one away match, the programme misspelled his name, so he was forever known as Ronnie Goodlaff. - Spike Denton, London SW9

Q. Have any international sporting brothers or sisters opposed each other as a result of opting to play for different countries?

A. The brothers Hearne, George Gibbons (born 1856), Frank (born 1858) and Alec (born 1863) were all serviceable county professionals who played for Kent. Frank played for England in the first two Test matches against South Africa in the 1888-89 season. George and Alec each played for England in the one Test match against South Africa in 1891-92 but Frank played against them for South Africa (and made the best score in both innings). He had gone to live in and play for Western Province.

Frank played three more times for South Africa against England in 1895- 96 and his son, George Alfred Lawrence Hearne, played against England in 1922-23 and toured England in 1924.

At the time of the early Test matches against South Africa qualification to represent a country was very lax and those early matches between the two countries were only retrospectively called Test matches (and certainly the teams were not of what would now be considered Test quality). - Robby Wilton, London N3

Q. Which League football team has had the most promotions/demotions: in the past 10 years; in the past 20 years; since the Second World War?

A. Over the past 10 seasons, 84 clubs have experienced relegation or promotion at least once, including all the current members of the Endsleigh League First and Second Divisions with the notable exception of Barnsley. The most emotionally drained supporters are those of Birmingham City, Darlington and Middlesbrough, all of whom have been involved in six promotions and relegations over this time. - Ian Kendall, Emsworth, Hampshire

Q. This season, a full team of ex-Bournemouth players could be selected from the staff of Premiership clubs. Has any lower-division club ever been able to make such a claim?

A. The First Division club Watford could use some of the following ex- players. Coton (Manchester City), Bardsley (QPR), Jobson (Oldham Athletic), McCarthy (QPR, loan), Richardson (Aston Villa), Sherwood (Blackburn Rovers), Holden (Oldham), Holdsworth (Wimbledon), Barnes (Liverpool), Penrice (QPR), Hodges (Sheffield United). Manager: Dave Bassett (Sheffield United). Assistant manager: Steve Perryman (Tottenham Hotspur). Come back, all is forgiven. - Pete Dunn, Bedford

Q. Would Lester Piggott be considered as the greatest sportsman of all time? He has now been at the top of his profession for five decades.

A. One candidate for the greatest sportsman of all time must surely be Sir Donald Bradman. His career batting average - 95.14 - is 34 per cent higher than the second-placed V M Merchant, with 71.22. - R G Pratt, Hay-on-Wye

Q. Is there any statistical correlation between winning the toss at cricket and subsequently winning the match?

A. In 1993, Allan Border's Australians played 30 matches in England, Ireland and Wales. They won the toss in 17 matches, of which they won 10 (58.82 per cent), drew 6 (35.30 per cent) and lost 1 (5.88 per cent). Of the 13 tosses lost the Australians won 8 (61.54 per cent), drew 3 (23.08 per cent) and lost 2 (15.38 per cent). So there we have it. Completely inconclusive. - David Balcombe, Northwood, Middlesex


Q. Traditionally, when the twelfth man came on in first-class matches he would not take up a specialist position. This no longer seems to be the case. Why? - Kevin Maguire, Batley

Q. Are there any first-class cricketers playing this season who also turn out for League football teams? - Derek Edgely, Altrincham

Q. This season Newcastle United subjected seven different clubs to their heaviest defeat. Is this a record? Ian Dormer, Gosforth

Q. How often do the bookies' favourites win the World Cup? - Jim Rutter, Charlbury

Q. Are there any countries in the world that do not have some form of horse racing? - James Colquhoun, Redcar

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

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